movies

Why you need to watch Serendipity, the most underrated Christmas rom-com of all time.

There’s no doubt that this year was a little bit, well, s**t.

It’s definitely been a tough one, but I’ve found the perfect antidote to the hot mess that was 2021. It’s a Christmas movie that will restore your faith in humanity and make you believe in magic... if only for a few hours.

It’s called Serendipity, and it’s a classic little romantic comedy from 2001, starring John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale.

It’s all about fate and destiny and everything else we really want to believe in at this time of year.

If you’ve watched it, you will know exactly what I’m talking about. You’re probably clutching your chest right now and remembering all the things that made this movie bloody brilliant – the black cashmere gloves, ice-skating in Central Park, Love In The Time Of Cholera, Aiden from Sex and The City as a weird flute-playing hippie.

Watch the trailer for Serendipity. Post continues below. 

If you haven’t watched it, you’re in for a real treat.

Set in New York in the late 1990s, Serendipity follows the story of a man named Jonathan Trager (Cusack) who meets a woman named Sara Thomas (Beckinsale) at Bloomingdales when they both reach for the same pair of black cashmere gloves. 

They instantly feel a spark. And although they're both in relationships, they decide to go get a coffee at a nearby patisserie named Serendipity33. 

As they leave, Jonathan asks for Sara's number but she says fate will intervene if they're meant to be together. 

Ten minutes later, they're face to face again when they both return to Serendipity33 to pick up things they accidentally left behind. 

They spend the next few hours together, skating in Central Park. 

At the end of the night when Sara finally gives Jonathan her number, the piece of paper it's written on is blown away in the wind. She interprets this as a sign that they're not meant to be together. 

Meanwhile, Jonathan believes they're definitely meant to get to know each other. Fate be damned. 

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So they devise a plan for fate to show them the way. 

Sara writes her name and number inside a copy of Love In The Time of Cholera. She’s going to sell it to a second-hand bookstore the next day and if it makes its way back to Jonathan, they’re meant to be together.

She also gets Jonathan to write his name and number on a dollar bill and then she spends it at a nearby magazine stand.

They part ways each taking one black cashmere glove with them, waiting for fate to step in and bring them back together.

Fast forward a few years later and fate is nowhere to be seen (you had ONE job, fate). Jonathan and Sara are both about to marry other people, but they can’t stop thinking about each other and that one magical night.

Cue frantic trips to New York, cold feet before impending weddings, and last-minute bid for fate to finally intervene.

There’s snow and an ice-rink and a Nick Drake song and when it’s all over, you’ll just want to call everyone you know to tell them you love them.

And if that’s not the Christmas spirit, I don’t know what is.

Serendipity is the kind of movie that’ll suck you into its romantic as heck New York setting and then spit you out two hours later, feeling a whole lot better about the world.

The best bit is it’s Christmassy enough, without being too Christmassy. There’s not a mince pie, a glass of eggnog, or a misbehaving relative in sight.

This classic romantic comedy will make you believe in the magic of Christmas, if only for a few hours.

Serendipity is available to stream on Stan now.

This article was originally published in 2018 and updated in 2021. 

Keryn Donnelly is Mamamia's Pop Culture Editor. For more of her TV, film and book recommendations and to see photos of her dog, follow her on Instagram and TikTok.